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NEW YORK — Crowds of onlookers lined the streets of New York City Thursday as colorful, soaring balloons helped usher in the holiday season during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The annual tradition, which dates back nearly a century, packs the streets as a procession of giant inflatables and floats stretches for more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.
Children balanced on metal barricades and hung from scaffolding to watch the balloons amid mostly sunny skies and a light breeze.
“Blue, blue. There is blue,” shouted 6-year-old Divyam Kumar as his father helped him and his 4-year-old brother Anu Aryan balance on the metal rail.
The youngster was referring to the star of the animated show “Blue’s Clues” – not to be confused with international cartoon sensation Blue, an Australian cattle pup who made his parade debut.
Bluey’s balloon was as tall as a four-story building and as wide as seven taxi cabs.
Kana minion Stuart was also there to thrill the crowd.
Snoopy, dressed as an astronaut, reappeared, as did Papa Smurf, Ronald McDonald, and SpongeBob.
This year’s parade, by the numbers: 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage items, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns and a Santa Claus.
The procession of characters was joined by singer Paula Abdul in her first parade appearance; indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums; boy band Big Time Rush; “Blues Clues and You!” host Josh Dela Cruz; singer Gloria Estefan; gospel singer Kirk Franklin; actor Mario Lopez; reggae star Ziggy Marley; and Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles.
Singers Joss Stone, Jordin Sparks and Betty Who will also be part of the festivities, as will the stars of Peacock’s “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” – Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg. Jimmy Fallon & The Roots will be on a float celebrating Central Park.
President Biden and Jill Biden called on the parade, as they did last year. Biden thanked firefighters, police officers and first responders, saying “they never take a break.”
He thanked the troops and Biden said he would be reaching out to talk to some people today.
Asked about his plans for the day in Nantucket, Biden said it would include family, and some time spent locally thanking first responders.